South Africa for Families
A world in one country – South Africa is one of the most beautiful and diverse places in the world. It boasts impressive mountain ranges, wild deserts, meandering marshlands, stunning beaches, and bustling, cosmopolitan cities. One of the biggest perks of South Africa is that many areas are malaria-free, so you don’t have to worry about vaccinations or health risks.
From its game-rich parks, to its relaxing white-sand beaches, there’s truly something for every member of the family here. South Africa’s outdoor adventure opportunities, interesting cities, and culturally diverse itineraries, makes it great for families of all ages and interests.
Our experts know the best places to stay and the most exceptional things for your family to do while in South Africa. They’ve traveled the land, met the people, and immersed themselves in the culture. No matter if you’re traveling with your toddler, grandparents or every generation in between, we’ve got you covered.
South Africa is known for its luxurious yet family-friendly lodges that offer adapted game drives for shorter attention spans and interactive experiences to enthuse and inspire younger travelers. These properties can also be rented out exclusively, which allows for maximum family bonding time. Many of us have taken our own families here, so you know that these lodges and camps are safe, comfortable and trustworthy.
South Africa’s wildlife parks and reserves like Kruger and Kalahari National Park are home to unbelievable wildlife, boasting the “Big Five.” You’ll have the opportunity to get an up close and personal expertly guided view of elephants, leopards, lions, rhino and Cape Buffalos. Many standard games drives offer special activities that are geared toward kids, so the entire family can participate in the fun.
There are also safe, predator-free Nature Reserves where your family can go on exhilarating horseback rides, mysterious cave walks, and take in some of the world’s best whale watching.
For multi-generational families, the Winelands are an excellent escape. Sometimes it’s nice to have some time just for the adults. Here you can experience a private guided vineyard tour. If older family members want to relax, and treat themselves to a glass (or three) of refreshing, fruit-forward and savory wines, it can be done guilt-free, as these properties have welcoming and trusted nannies on hand to care for your children.
Cape Town is the perfect stop for every family. It has surfing lessons, paddle boarding with penguins, and a multitude of fascinating museums. You can plan to spend your days as a whole family, or break off and do some solo exploring.
Cities like Cape Town offer Michelin starred restaurants, shopping for fresh produce at open air markets, craft cocktails, and authentic South African dishes, sure to please even the most adventurous eater. But don’t worry if you have a picky eater on your hands, guest-houses offer meals tailored to your dietary restrictions and preferences.
For those gastronomically inclined, we can arrange special cooking classes for you. Your family can learn South African braai (barbeque) techniques or how to cook a coursed meal with African spices in the Winelands. These skills are a memento you can carry with you even after your trip ends. It’s a good way to be able to share the joy of South Africa with your family and friends once you return home.
- From July to November, visit the small fishing town of Hermanus where whale watching is superb.
- Note regulations on children’s birth certificates upon arrival
- “I took my kids to the Apartheid museum and it really opened their eyes” – John Spence, President of Scott Dunn USA
- There is so much to do in and around Cape Town, allow at least 4-5 nights here
- Kruger National Park has such a high concentration of wildlife, it allows you to see almost everything in a short period of time
- Cape Town is home to one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Table Mountain
Step into a land unlike any other: South Africa is the perfect place for your family’s first safari. With malaria-free areas and a varied range of activities for even the youngest family members, South Africa is a safe, fun-filled option, where you’re sure to create unforgettable memories.
Set in the heart of Cape Town’s vibrant cultural center; at the foot of Table Mountain, close to the bustling V&A Waterfront and some of the city’s best beaches, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is one of the city's most iconic hotels. Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is great for children. There is a dedicated, fully supervised children's club for the under 12s. Here the suites are ideally suited to families, with room for an extra bed; alternatively they also have some interconnecting rooms. This hotel has a secure and friendly atmosphere sure to make any family feel right at home.
Surrounded by prime bush, and blessed with the luxury of wide views, guests here are able to experience what it would be like to have their own private luxury house in the center of one of Southern Africa's ultimate game rich areas. Out on safari, guides at Morukuru are experienced in working with children and have the fantastic ability to maximize the safari experience for all. Tracking lessons and identification of flora and fauna keep children involved during game drives. Guides will also organize extra activities, such as fishing trips with lunch braai to cook up the catch, to make sure children leave Morukuru with great memories.
Kwande Ecca is set within the malaria free Kwandwe Private Reserve in the Eastern Cape and is perfect for a first family safari. The lodge has been designed with families in mind and there is a playroom to keep the kids entertained in between game drives. They can also help the chef out in the kitchen, baking pizzas or treats for afternoon tea. The guiding here is fantastic and the guides will be sure to make each and every game drive exciting, fun and educational.
Explore the unknown: for families with children over the age of 12, a world of possibilities open up. South Africa has a diverse range of exhilarating and educational activities from game drives, where you’ll get up close and personal with leopards, to paddle boarding with penguins, there is something to entertain teens with even the most outlandish interests.
Tswalu offers a safari experience like none other in Africa. In the heart of the Kalahari, the largest private game reserve in South Africa, it’s an incredible location for a first family safari. The two luxurious lodges offer the perfect setting for families and small groups of all ages to enjoy a wildlife rich safari, with a wide range of activities in the spellbinding landscapes. Children will wonder at the majesty of black-maned Kakahari lions and you will have to drag them away from the mischievous meerkats. Children will leave as qualified Tswalu Junior Rangers!
Mont Rochelle offers a luxurious five-bedroom Manor House for exclusive use for families, with four deluxe suites and a bunk room for children, with two private swimming pools and games room. The Manor House is taken on a half board basis, with meals either prepared by your own private chef, who can tailor meals to suit any dietary restriction or palate, or families can choose to dine at one of their two delectable restaurants.
Phinda Game Reserve is cradled in the arms of the Ubombo Mountains and flanked to the east by golden beaches and the Indian Ocean. This is one of Africa’s most diverse wilderness areas, boasting seven ecosystems and an extraordinary range of wildlife. Phinda offers family cottages which are comprised of two interconnecting rooms, these are a great option for families wanting to experience all Phinda has to offer. Families staying in these cottages can enjoy a private safari vehicle which means there is no age restriction for those children on game drives. Facilities at Phinda Mountain Lodge include an interesting craft gallery and an inviting swimming pool. The lodge also offers in-room massages for those who feel like indulging in a bit of pampering.
Something for everyone: When traveling with the entire family, you want it to be as stress-free as possible, with activities and hotels to suit every member of the family. South Africa has no shortage of these, offering private houses that can be taken exclusively to ensure a worry-free bonding experience.
Morukuru Ocean House is a four bedroom private house situated in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, which is often cited to be one of the most beautiful costal reserves in South Africa. It is the perfect spot for any family seeking an exclusive and unique vacation. Here your family will have complete privacy and the choice to plan each day as it comes. Each of the four bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms and spectacular ocean views. The house itself is set just back from a 51 kilometer long pristine white sand beach back by limestone cliffs and costal fynbos. Take advantage of the beautiful surroundings with guided walks and hikes, bike rides, cave tours, quad biking and 4x4 fynbos safaris. Alternatively, spend the day relaxing by the pool and enjoy a BBQ on the veranda. Morukuru Ocean House is the perfect location to relax with family and friends in complete privacy in an entirely unique setting.
Londolozi Private Game Reserve is a 14,000-hectare exclusive safari destination situated in the heart of the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve, on the western border of Kruger National Park. Offering unparalleled game viewing, the lodge is made up of five separate camps, each with its own distinctive style and unique characteristics. If traveling with children under the age of 16, Pioneer and Founders Camp are excellent choices.
Ellerman Villa One in Bantry Bay, offers a self-contained home of exceptional exclusivity and unrivalled privacy just 20 minutes from the center of Cape Town. Stylish and chic, the villa is effortlessly comfortable with a modern minimalist design. Your every need is catered for with a spa, infinity pool, entertainment room, delectable cuisine delivered by your private butler and even a study, which is the perfect quiet escape to hide away amongst magazines and an array of books. The villa is conveniently located near Cape Town’s beaches, Table Mountain and an array of restaurants and bars. Further afield, day trips can be made to Hout Bay, Noordhoek (via the stunning views of Chapman’s Peak Drive) Cape Point and the nearby Winelands.
Venture beyond: South Africa is the ideal destination for families who like to be on-to-go while they travel. It has mountain biking, canoeing, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, culture, museums and shopping. With an endless array of possibilities, there is no way to get bored.
Babylonstoren is a beautiful and unique boutique hotel located within vineyards and orchards in the Drakenstein Valley. There are just 14 cottages strung out along the garden and vineyards. The cottages are stunningly converted 17th and 18th century Cape Dutch farm buildings. This property’s small size and personalized feel, makes it ideal for families. Children can run free and explore the gardens, ride on the tractors, walk with the working ducks and collect their eggs. It’s a treasure chest of surprises; a maze, a lake with boats and a surprise water fountain. Couples meanwhile will enjoy the peace and privacy of their own cottage and sampling the delicious wine from Babylonstoren's vineyard whilst cozying up in front of their fire on chilly evenings.
Ant's Hill is a six-bedroom lodge perched on the edge of a cliff, with amazing views over the malaria-free Waterberg Reserve. The lodge has a home-from-home feel and a flexible approach to activities and meals, meaning guests can tailor their stay to suit themselves. A myriad of activities are on offer at the lodge from walks, games drives, badminton, volleyball, mountain biking and excellent horses suitable for all ages and abilities. Children of any age are allowed to join their parents on all game viewing activities and they have created specialized kids “bug” and “spoor” walks. In addition to excellent game viewing, the lodge also offers many facilities ideal for kids, such as the heated swimming pool, a trampoline, sand pits, a badminton and volley ball net as well as a selection of toys and books.
Rocktail Bay is a stunningly beautiful part of the South African coast, the region is very wild with endless deserted beaches. Rocktail Beach Camp consists of 17 rooms including seven family units, most with a view of the ocean. For families looking for non-stop excitement, the activities are endless, including snorkeling, fishing, stargazing and walks. Salt water fly-fishing, trips to Black Rock and Lake Sibaya to see the hippo are arranged daily.
Time To Unwind
Take a break from the expected: Sometimes the most refreshing vacation is one where you can relax and unwind with the entire family. Many lodges in South Africa allow you to plan your day around how action-packed or calm you want it to be, and can be tailored to each member of your family. Whether it’s spending your days on unspoiled beaches or getting a rejuvenating message, South Africa provides a beautiful, peaceful escape.
This is a place to relax and enjoy the true "armchair safari.” Singita Ebony Lodge reclines in the peaceful shade of jackalberry trees on the banks of the Sand River, in the heart of the Singita Private Game Reserve. The lodge boasts timeworn colonial furniture and ethnic crafts which merge with vibrant hand-woven fabrics and relics collected from the local area. The spacious suites are places of quiet contemplation and the lodge is the epitome of the luxury safari experience, combining quality and simple refinement. For ultimate relaxation, schedule a massage in the comfort of your room.
The recently refashioned Cape Grace hotel delivers all the creature comforts you would expect from world class luxury accommodation in Cape Town and lots of little extras too. Backed by the iconic Table Mountain, and surrounded on three sides by the busy working harbor, The Cape Grace epitomizes style and sophistication in an atmosphere alive with genuine warmth and hospitality. Children of all ages are welcome to come and stay, and The Cape Grace prides itself on being very accommodating to families with young ones. They offer a special kiddies turndown, gingerbread decorating and African story time in the evenings is also available. Children get their own mini robes, bath toys and check in process.
Grootbos Garden Lodge’s 11 suites provide the ideal getaway for families. The use of natural textures and colors enhance the feeling of harmony with nature; well-appointed bathrooms with large windows overlook a carpet of diverse flora stretching down towards the sea. Combine this with a beauty or massage treatment in the comfort of your own room and you will be left feeling utterly peaceful and at one with your surroundings. Garden Lodge offers wonderful facilities for children, there is a playground near the horse stables, as well as a number of activities to inspire and educate them, including treasure hunts in the Milkwood Forest. Special children's menus are available as well as refreshments and snacks during activities.
What to pack on safari